8.31.2012

It's a Number Thing

It is amazing what a difference 24 hours can make in a mindset. Yesterday numbers didn't phase me. I didn't care about stats and was enjoying the love of running. Then today I peeked at Daily Mile only to see I am 12 miles from getting 150 miles this month. Why do I care? Why am I bummed I didn't run this am (will run later today)? I could have done 12 miles this am if I would have known earlier.

Thing is, the last day or so I have also felt a bit achy as if a cold was coming my way. That is why I have stuff like this in my possession....and in my water.


I know between that and the lovely 9 hours of sleep I got last night I am well on my way of avoiding a nasty, full-blown cold and that is more important than 150 miles in August, right? Gotta say....I'm am not doing a good job of convincing myself. Did I convince you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the Energy Bits sample I received in the mail to try. 
Daily Affirmation: I am in tune with my body and know what to do.

8.30.2012

Running Hard

I completed the third and final 20 mile run in my marathon training cycle last Saturday. It was at that point that my mind shifted. The bulk of my training is done. I am either ready or not. I'm ready. And now I just need to stay healthy and have faith. But that doesn't mean I hung up my running shoes. Although, there is a time that they may have sat there longer between uses. Not now. Now I run every day and am loving it. It makes me feel happy. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel good.

But even though the bulk of my training is done it doesn't mean I am taking it easy. If you look at my miles recently they haven't been anything huge but I have been running hard. I know I can run the distance. Now I am just running out frustration, anxiety, or whatever emotions I have and reconnecting with the pure love of running. I am not forcing myself to run x-miles. I know I have the willpower and capability to do so when needed. I am not concerned by the weekly stats. They really won't make a difference come 9/16 (marathon day). But what will make a difference is my mindset. I want to be happy and feel confident so I am running for love.

With that said, I got adventurous and started trying out a new treadmill app by lolo called BeatBurn. It costed me $3.99 and I'm not going to get into a huge review right now since it is too early to tell. I have only used the app four times. But I have been having fun. The time flies by. And I have been pushing myself in new ways and feeling the difference. It is hard! At least, it is if you push yourself. I know it sounds like I am giving it some praise right now in a review but I don't want to officially do the review as I am experiencing a few hiccups here and there. They may just be due to my own learning curve so I really want to give the app a full trial period before I say more. Stay tuned!

Another thing I am focused on right now is stroke awareness. You may have seen my post just the other day introducing the Stroke Awareness Virtual Run. This is really important to me mainly because of what motivated me to put this in action right now. In my previous post there is a story from a friend of mine who explains what it felt like when he had his first stroke. He has had many hurdles in his life and right now he is going through a rough spell and I felt a huge desire to do something to show him support. The best way I saw fit was to raise awareness about stroke since it is something deep and meaningful to him. I am very fortunate he was willing to share his story. I may be asking a lot for people to run on 9/16 with me, or donate, or just help spread the word like wildfire with nothing physical in return. I just didn't want to feel like I was "bribing" people to care and participate. I am very thankful for those who have already registered to run and/or donated. I am also thankful for the tweets, facebook posts, and other sharing I see going on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing some information on stroke in my efforts to raise awareness.

Today's stroke fact: In the United States, there are 700,000 stroke attacks annually and 500,000 of these are first occurrences. This means there is a stroke every 45 seconds. Source

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the rain.
Daily Affirmation: I am mentally prepared to push myself when it counts.

8.28.2012

Stroke Awareness - Make a Difference

I truly feel that my spirit is meant to run. I have said that before and I will again. And I will always mean it. I believe that I am meant to make a difference in life through running. No, I am not going to break any world records. No, I am not going to the Olympics. That isn't what I was meant to do. I feel through blogging I am able to share my passion, hopefully inspire, and perhaps raise awareness to health issues.

Today I want to talk about strokes and at the end of my post I have a guest post from someone who has experienced strokes firsthand. You may instantly think of some elderly person having a debilitating stroke and their family taking care of them. This in itself is awful and hard to bear but someone doesn't need to be "old" in order to have a stroke. Therefore, I feel it is very important to understand stroke and to recognize the warning signs and to ask FAST.

F - Ask the person to smile. Does the face droop on one side?
A - Ask the person to lift their arms. Does one drop downwards?
S - Ask the person to speak. Are they slurring their words?
T - If you see any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

I have also read that you can ask the person to open their mouth and see if their tongue drifts to one side. I haven't seen this verified on the National Stroke Association site yet.

So today, I am asking you to help bring make a difference by getting onboard to raise awareness of stroke and what a vital role you may play one day in helping someone. Here's how you can help.

Stroke Awareness Virtual Run
I will be running the Maui Marathon on September 16 and am inviting all of you to run or walk virtually with me. You can go any distance and treadmills are fine. All that I ask is that you help spread the word and raise awareness on strokes. Register HERE. I will establish a way for all runners and walkers to share how many miles they contributed to this cause. Since I want to stay focused on stroke awareness, there will be no distraction with door prizes.

Donate
I have set up a fundraising page through the National Stroke Association. Donations are not mandatory to participate in the virtual run. Donate if you can and want to. Donate HERE. Although the virtual run has passed, I am still accepting donations for this great cause!

Tweet, Blog, Post
Help spread the word often! This makes the biggest impact.

A True Story of Stroke
I have a dear friend who has experienced strokes firsthand. He is a gentle spirit who has a special path in life and was gracious enough to share his story here. In addition, he has a blog focused on stroke awareness and I have provided his links for more information at the end of this post.

Pip's Story:
Stroke Awareness – you just never know when it might happen. You can learn the risk factors and mitigate those but you never know. I had two strokes. Here is the story of the first one. This one will be considered the small stroke (TIA – transient ischemic attack) as the residual of that was identified in an MRI after the major stroke that occurred one month later.

It was February of 2009. My brother was up with his children for a visit and we had all headed out to the Zoo in Dallas. Valentine’s weekend. I remember walking around the zoo and suddenly I was slipping behind the pack. I used the fact that my ever present Canon camera was in my hand to hide the confusion that I was feeling. I told the family I was falling behind because the rhino would not keep still.

Wait … the rhino would not keep still … see in hindsight it reeks of the confusion that was bouncing around in my less than fully functioning brain.

My first thought was that some bug had decided to explode in my body that day. I was slower than possible but managed to shake off the total disorientation that was occurring and make it through the day.

I just told my brother I was a bit under the weather. Not knowing then what I know now. That somewhere in the upper part of the right brain between the frontal and temporal lobes there had been a momentary blockage that was rewiring part of the process.

The visit to the doctors after the family had left was a mute point. These TIAs are a disruption of cerebral blood flow but most manage to resolve themselves in a matter of a few minutes or 24 hours at the most. So the diagnosis was that it looked like I might have a sinus infection and a steroid was prescribed to clear up the fluid.

What happened a month later was far worse than this and even though I downplay it now the level of terror and fear in a mind that goes on while the world changes around you but it is really your mind that is slowly losing part of itself is beyond compare. That story is for another day.

What are the risk factors?

Controllable Risk Factors:
  • High Blood Pressure - I was taking medicine for this
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • High Cholesterol -  had this but it has been under control for years
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco Use and Smoking - I smoked for 6 months in 1988
  • Alcohol Use - Social drinker but not much at all
  • Physical Inactivity - I was totally sedentary
  • Obesity - At a whopping 426 lbs when this happened – obesity kills

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family History
  • Previous Stroke or TIA - this one is now me
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia
  • Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO or Hole in the Heart) - this one is also me

Uncontrollable risk factors include being over age 55, being male, being African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander, or having a family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Want to Learn More?
Types of Strokes
Stroke Symptoms
Recap of Controllable Risk Factors
Women and Stroke, Women's Risks, Women's Unique Symptoms
Stroke Myths

8.27.2012

Training is my Life

I really do love the training part of running. It can be hard, it can wear me down, but it focuses my efforts on what is really important to me. It forces me to make the right choices in order to achieve my goals and how can I not love that?

Speaking of training, here are my weekly stats from Daily Mile:

I love to check these out from time to time and if I see any blips out of place, I reflect on why. I am liking how consistent my running has been and how smart my build up has been. I know I want higher mileage weeks. I know I wanted a 50 mile week before the Maui Marathon next month but honestly it wasn't the right time yet. But I have faith I will get up there before the Honolulu Marathon in December.

My runs recently have been focused and determined. My mindset is "work hard August" because come September I need to be officially tapering for the marathon. I have already surpassed last August's miles by 14 miles, when I include what I ran this morning. I was worried a bit by how achy I feel on recovery weeks and doubting my capabilities but after reading supportive comments it seems the aches are indeed normal and not a sign of incapability. And I know added rest before rest day has it benefits.

I also found a new way to do my long run that may work best for my family. Squeezing in long runs is hard for me to do mainly because of my own personal guilt. I could run on Sundays but it is the only day dear hubby and I have off together with darling daughter. When I can have someone babysit and we run together, that is nice. And in the past, I have run solo and met up with him and darling daughter at a beach. However, by the time I got to them on longer run days darling daughter is at her beach limit and I don't want to cause undue stress. And now that dear hubby runs, if I plan a long run or race without him he often asks "what about me?". A valid question and I would never deny anyone running time but it just makes me feel guilty. No ones problem really except my own as I am the one choosing to feel guilt.

Recently I tried doing my long run with darling daughter by starting at the gym and finishing outside with her. Thing is, due to the hours of operation of the Kids' Club this puts us on the road running in the middle of the day. I know Hawaii isn't the hottest state out there but it is hot and I don't want to make darling daughter too uncomfortable. I know this option is still available but this weekend I did this.....

I got up earlier on Saturday than usual. Yep, I gave up a day of a wee bit extra sleep and started my 20 mile run at home on the incline treadmill. I completed 7 determined miles right before we needed to pack up and head out to the gym. I like to get there earlier rather than later for fear the Kids' Club will fill out and that would really negatively impact my plans. I got darling daughter settled in and after a down time of about 45 minutes between part 1 and part 2, I ran my final 13 miles. I question what effect that down time has on the overall training of the run but I think it will be negligible. I had to work those 13 miles hard and really had to pick up the pace for the final 50 minutes to get done on time. It was hard. Killer hard. But I didn't want to fall short. And towards the end I called on my dad for support and the spiritual side of running took over. I love that when that happens. But what never happened before and is quite funny is I thought about the oranges from soccer games in my youth. You know, those orange slices the parents made you eat even if you didn't want to. At that moment in my run, all I could think of orange slices and how I desperately wanted some right then and there. A nice juicy slice of orange......

and that completes half marathon+ #14 for the year.

Instead of a daily gratitude or affirmation, today I am going to ask those who are willing to take a moment and say of prayer of strength to send to my younger sister. She has three young kids and they all just lost their little dog, Doobie, today as he was mauled by the neighbor's dogs. My sister is tough but I know the kids could use a little extra love sent their way. Mahalo!

8.22.2012

Serenity

First, after writing this post yesterday I talked to family and friends, and read your comments, and got my head screwed back on right again. I love to blog and I feel I am fully capable of doing so and keeping my family safe. And the vulnerability I was feeling had nothing really to do with blogging per se. I will get back to that in a moment.

I wanted to post today but then thought, no. I am going to take a break and reflect on things while training my butt off but then I really, really, really wanted to share my thoughts this morning....and in particular, this prayer.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

This prayer has popped in and out of my mind throughout my lifetime and it sprang back into me today.

Let's look at this week and what left me feeling vulnerable.

Issue: Unquestionable/icky site linking to my blog
Reality: I can't control this. I did talk to a techy friend who confirmed such...unless I want to make my site private but he went on to point out what I already know, it kinda defeats the purpose of writing a motivational running blog.
What I will do: Not get paranoid over a few hits (really, just 8) over 24 hours. And you know what, I can just not look too and I usually don't look at the analytics much. I mean, I really can't control it so why worry about it?
What I can control: My blog content.

Issue: Undercover cop doing odd driving behavior which resulted in me feeling followed.
Reality: Maybe he was following me, maybe he was just driving quite weird. Thing is, if he was following me he was just hoping I would speed so he could give me a ticket as he pulled off from the side of the road (opposite going traffic by the way) to turn around to my side of the road, pulled over in front of me, and then scooted in behind me.
What I will do: Get over it and stop worrying.
What I can control: How I drive. It may have been nothing but it made me uncomfortable. I pulled into a busy parking lot and just let he go on his merry way.

So you see, it was really just little, insignificant things added to perhaps intense, overwhelming, marathon training emotions and my response was a bit crazy. Really, when I told the story to my sister on the phone I couldn't keep a straight face as it was somewhat comical. Seriously, try saying this with a straight face, "I think a cop was following me to see if I would speed so he could give me a ticket so I am not going to blog anymore."

The point is, blogging does open me up but I can control how open and exposed I am. I have always been safe and will always be safe. But what I am going to do now is take a little break from blogging, clear my head, and I will be back Monday, August 27th, to tell you more!

Love and Happiness!

8.21.2012

Time to Quit?

I have been feeling a bit vulnerable this past week. Add to that multiple posts and comments on safety. Then after work I had an odd experience and the sense of being followed that caused me to deviate from my original idea of where I was going to plan B. It is made me instantly question blogging...although the two are really not directly related.

I love to blog and aim to motivate and inspire others along with myself. However, am I really doing the right thing? Some may say yes. Some may say no.

I am honored to be a FitFluential ambassador and Sweat Pink ambassador and this intermission may jeopardize that but I need to do what is right for me and my family.

I am blessed to read other great blog posts and comments both on this blog and others.

But right now I need to take a break from blogging. My instant idea was to just shut things down and never return. However, I may be overreacting. But I am unplugging myself from blogger for now until.....I'm really not sure.

Thank you so much for all the support and love.

8.20.2012

Running through the Weekend

I was in a funk last week mainly because I was just plain tired. You can read more about that HERE but let's get on to running! I think the best thing to do since I wasn't even near my blog over the weekend and have been a bit distracted is to bring us all up to speed....including myself.

Thursday: I managed to somewhat get out of bed at a somewhat early hour and ran 3.58 miles at the gym. However, it wasn't enough to keep me calm by the end of the day due to stressors at work. I sweet talked the family into dropping me off at the gym where I ran another 5.09 miles and then we went out to dinner. Family date night at Subway! Gotta say, I love that I can get spinach on my veggie sub now! And darling daughter and I love the apple chips!

Friday: The double-run from the day before helped get me up again at a somewhat early hour but my heart and soul wasn't into it. I ran 3.5 miles and devoted a lot of time to stretching to calm myself and find some peace. Like I said earlier, I am a wee bit stressed with work right now.

I did this at the gym today!
Saturday: I ran my long run of 10 miles at the gym while darling daughter played at the Kids' Club. I called this it for the week and ended up with 27.62 miles. Not quite where I wanted to be but hey, I am still averaging just over 35 miles/week during this round of marathon training and I am happy with that. But that brings me to my next question, why is it that my body always aches and feels stiffer after low mileage/recovery weeks than higher mileage/building weeks? Yes, I was tired this week but it is always the case. I just don't feel revitalized after a recovery week and am beginning to question just how to taper properly for myself. Any comments/advice/suggestions/thoughts would be welcome.

Sunday: The start of a new week and I began it with 2.25 miles on my incline treadmill at home. This is a great start! I know the mileage is low but in all reality, it is good for me because running at home is hard, hot, sweaty, and mentally challenging.

Today: I got up pretty much when my alarm went off just like I am supposed to do! Yeah!!! I ran 3.29 miles at the gym and am still sad that the gym doesn't open as early on Mondays but hey, I have the rest of the week to stay on this good bandwagon of running!

How have your runs been recently? Any successes or hurdles?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my dear friend re-henna'ing my hair and yep, that really isn't a word but you get the point.
Daily Affirmation: I am able to see an argument from different points of view.

8.17.2012

#FitFluential #SLEEP

One of the four pillars of FitFluential is SLEEP. The other three are MOVE, ENJOY, and EAT by the way. Imagine all of these pillars as table legs. They should all be in balance so you have a reliable, sound foundation. For me, my SLEEP is lacking.

Like most people, I go through life juggling all of the things that are important and/or necessary for me. On most days, I do just fine but this week my juggling skills have been questioned repeatedly daily in regards to me doing what I need to do....SLEEP. Ever since Monday night I have promised myself that I would get to bed early to get the sleep needed to get up early to run the run I wanted to run. Every night I failed. I just didn't do it. And it was my choice so I am the only one to blame.

When you juggle through life you have to make choices and sometimes something just has to give. To understand, here's sneak peak into my life. After getting up early (target time is 4:00 am) I run, go to work, pick up darling daughter, make lunches, make dinner, tend to the garden, tidy up the house, shower/bath time, play if time allots, and put darling daughter to bed. The bedtime routine runs from about 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Sometimes I am done by 8:00 pm but not always. This gives me maybe one hour of time with dear hubby before I zonk. I usually start heading to bed at 9:30 pm and climb in bed between 9:45 pm and 10:00 pm. So you can see, this gives me little sleep time and let's not even get into the fact that I don't often sleep through the night. Every little sound can wake me up some nights. Oh my!

And as much as I knew I needed to get sleep and usually one night going to bed at the same time as darling daughter does the trick I didn't. Why? Guilt. I felt it would be selfish, that I was denying dear hubby our quality time, and I wanted our time together since it is so limited. But my juggling skills were being tested and something has to give to get back into form. That SLEEP ball kept slipping in my fingers and the only reason why I wasn't dropping it was because I was oversleeping and cutting back my running time. My "me" time was suffering. And for now, I am okay with that but I will not be okay if this persists through next week.

I need to get back into balance and set the solid foundation needed in my life. I need to make the pillars of EAT, SLEEP, MOVE, and ENJOY equal again....or at least a lot closer to equal. I need to realize that an evening without quality time with dear hubby isn't the worst because in all reality, if I go to bed early one night and miss it, I will be more in the present and alert the next night we have together. I need to take care of me and I plan to do just that starting tonight and moving through next week.

SLEEP is essential and I need more of it. The yawns while driving and at work at great tell-tales. And if I don't catch that ball and improve my juggling skills, I risk getting sick. And that is a price I don't want to pay.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful dear hubby watched darling daughter while I was running my second run yesterday.
Daily Affirmation: I am in tune with my body.

8.16.2012

Running Tired

Before I start talking running I want to answer a question I got about what this is. First, what do you think?


It is a sideless slide! It scared the beziggins out of me the first time I saw it, as well as darling daughter, which was good since I didn't have to tell her I was too scared to let her try it. But we have both overcome our fears since then. Here she is and yep, I tried it too. Kinda fun in an odd way!


Now onto running!

I have been out of sync this week mainly because I am having the hardest time getting out of bed in the morning. Darling daughter is back in school and that means I need to be out of work at a specific time to pick her up on time. For the past three weeks I had a bit of wiggle room with work hours since darling daughter had alternative care. For awhile I was blaming that as my issue but felt I was having a harder time getting over it than I would expect. Then I looked at my mileage for the past few weeks and I think I am just plain tired and need more sleep. My real mileage for the past three weeks has gone 36.3 miles, 32.68 miles recovery week, 44.84 miles. Hmmm....that was a big jump and could trigger some fatigue, eh?

But even with having a logical explanation, I need to get better at getting the sleep I need and getting up early enough to do the running I want and need to succeed at achieving my race goals. Right? I would love to say I jumped out of bed today but I slacked again as it seems I have every day this week. Ironically, right before going into the gym I saw this tweet....and I don't normally look at twitter first thing in the morning.


and replied to the extent that I need someone to kick my butt into gear at 4:00 am. When I got this reply I smiled and had a instant mindset change from discouraged to ready to run. Mahalo to The Boring Runner! And I hope you don't mind being highlighted but I love to demonstrate how awesome the online running community is!


I was able to get motivated enough to not only run the 30 minutes I had but to run those 30 minutes well. And now I get to introduce a new TM Running Workout for you!

larger view on TM Running page
Treadmill Tempo Intervals: There are many ways to run intervals and I do them many times. Running intervals helps maximize the benefits of a workout if you  have limited time and are great for speedwork. However, they are not something I would suggest daily and since I do them more often than perhaps is recommended, sometimes I cut the pace back and do fun tempo intervals. And after a few days of sleeping in late, I knew I needed to up the ante some with today's run.

I broke my 30 minute run into 5 minute segments and started off at a pace midway between my easy/recovery pace and my tempo pace. I alternated this segment's pace with 5 minutes at my tempo pace. It raises my effort some but won't go all out and kill me when I add it into a week with already planned tempo or speed runs, long runs, and recovery days. I ended up running 3.58 miles with an average pace of 8'22". It was a great run and I followed it up with a 1-minute plank.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for twitter.
Daily Affirmation: I am strong and can wake up on time when it really counts.

8.14.2012

Marathon Training Week 11 Long Run

I truly do love to run and one of my favorite runs is the long run mainly because I never know what to expect. In my mind, a long run is any run that is 10 miles or longer. I have to get into those double digits. I understand the value of the long run in teaching my body to use energy reserves differently. Sooner or later in a run, you are going to run through your glycogen reserves and have to start burning fat. This is where the long run teaches your body just how to do that. But for me, the long run is more of the mental challenge, the mental training, the confidence builder. Yep, all that physiological stuff is still happening but it is the mental part that intrigues me the most.

In week 10 of my training I kinda flopped on my long run. You can read about it HERE. I look back on that day as a successful failure. I failed in running 20 miles but I succeeded in running 8 miles and it built the foundation I needed for this past weekend. I really wanted those 20 miles.....deep down inside. I was feeling very insecure, doubtful, and nervous about my capabilities.

Come Friday I was itching to run mainly because I wanted it done and over. I wanted to know I could do it. And it amazed me how doubtful my mind was since this was to be the second 20 mile training run in this training series. I know I could do it. I had....just not the weekend before.

Between texts with dear hubby I clarified we couldn't run together Sunday morning since Mom wasn't in town. I then texted that I really just wanted Saturday morning but that I can't get what I want. I think I was feeling a bit sulky and then I got annoyed. Why can't I do what I want? Why can't I run Saturday? I mean, besides the point that dear hubby works all day Saturday and my go-to for back-up childcare is working as well. But still....what is stopping me? And in all reality, it was me stopping me with my own predetermined mindsets of what could be. I turned to darling daughter and asked her told her that we were going to go to the gym Saturday morning and then we were going to go run with the jogging stroller. We were going to do 20 miles and afterwards, I would take her to the park and out to lunch. That was the bribery part. I did such a good job convincing her this was the best way ever to spend a Saturday morning that I was pretty excited about it too!

Then it was Saturday morning and I had to execute my plan. We got to the gym, she settled into the Kids' Club, and I ran as hard as I could to crank out as many miles in the gym as possible. I wanted to keep the jogging stroller part as short and sweet as I could for darling daughter. I ended up completing 13 miles. I had doubts about the merit of such a long pause in a run to get from part 1 to part 2 but figured getting it done was the most important part. After a pit stop for drinks we made the 30-minute or so trip to our next running spot. I got darling daughter into the jogging stroller quite easily but in that first mile she asked three times if we were done. Oh my! Not a good sign. We also had to make a run back to the car to get a toy she I forgot. And then we ran on and it was probably one of my toughest days on this route.

I don't think it was the running with a jogging stroller per se but people were everywhere today and I felt I had to keep dodging them or come to stops to avoid those stepping out right in front of us. There was also some construction going on that made areas of the sidewalk impossible or difficult to pass. We were nearing the end and darling daughter was still ready to call it quits. I was at 4.76 miles of the final 7 miles I needed and felt hot, lightheaded, and defeated. I called it quits mainly because I feared I was about to pass out from heat (it was now noon) and questioned if darling daughter was as hot as I was. I took her to the park she wanted to play at and tried to run some more but called it quits again at an additional 0.41 miles mainly because all the parents were staring at me like I was a crazy lady and I just wanted to play with my darling daughter.

We had a blast and then headed out to lunch and to do our errands. It was a long day and on the drive home I told darling daughter I wasn't going to take my running shoes off until I finished my 20 miles. She said I better not. I got home, got her situated with a snack and TV, and hopped on the treadmill for my final bit of running. I had about a minute to go and my phone rang and I could tell it was my mom calling the second time for the day. Oops...I never responded to her first message. But I declared I was not going to stop, that I was going to finish my run, that I could finish my run, and darling daughter looked up to me and said, "you better not quit" and I didn't. With about 30 seconds left I felt my eyes swelling up with tears and I was an emotional crazy lady. And yes, at the end I cried because those 20 miles were the best in my life. I fought for them and I won. I was given many good reasons to quit. 17.76 would have been okay. I stopped due to heat. It was a smart decision. Just over 18 miles would have been fine too. I stopped to play with my daughter. But 20 miles was my goal and 20 miles I ran...split between the gym treadmill, jogging stroller, park loops, and incline treadmill. And it was just what I needed to get my confidence back. And now I am ready to complete my training to run my second marathon in September. And I am looking to PR....perhaps not break 4 hours yet but I will PR. I will.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my family.
Daily Affirmation: I create opportunities for myself to succeed.

P.S. This is my 13th half marathon+ for 2012.
P.P.S. Correction - this is really for training week 12. Oopsie!

8.13.2012

5 Reasons to Not Rely on Technology when Running

If you have been following me awhile you are probably fully aware that the analytical side of me loves the technological side of running. You know, my Nike+ sensor, Nike GPS app, iPhone with tunes, etc. For some of you it may be your Garmin or even as simple as an iPod. These devices can make tracking your runs and progress easier and more exciting but here is my list of 5 reasons to NOT rely on technology.

  1. Forgetting to charge your technology piece of choice or worse yet, you thought you did and you didn't. 
  2. Even the best charged battery can let you down. Yep, a fully charged iPhone using the Nike GPS app can quit before you finish a 18 mile run leaving you in the dark, and without tunes, for your final splits. And yes, this has happened to me and you can read about it HERE. I was running "in the dark" after mile 12.
  3. It gives you more to carry on your runs. Sometimes it is good to just be able to go out the door and run light and free.
  4. They can just zap the fun out of your run. Imagine just having the time of your life doing a run only to look down and see that although your run was fun it was slow. Should that matter? No, not really. We all need those fun runs to stay in tune with why we run.
  5. But my best reason to NOT rely on technology is because it can lie to you! Especially when your Nike sensor is getting old and needs to be replaced.


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I know when I am being lied to.
Daily Affirmation: I am happy, loved, and strong.

8.10.2012

Running and Going Nowhere

Well, no where physical (since I have been running on a treadmill) but my recent runs have taken me to different mental places. Although some may argue my runs have taken me somewhere physical too as my body continues to adjust, train, and build endurance. I guess this could be a cup half full versus a cup half empty argument. But let's get onto running!

Mom has gone back home (boo hoo) and that means the slacking in my training must end. As much as I thought I could put in the miles while she was here it ended up not being where I wanted it to be. But one wise runner told me not to worry about the miles I didn't do but to appreciate the ones I did....so I will apply that here. And now it is time to get my focus on and avoid all the sugary temptations Mom was really good at seducing me in to.

larger image on TM Running page
On Wednesday morning I managed to get out of bed nice and early and hit the gym before work. I had it in my mind to run 60 minutes and envisioned a TM Pyramid Run. Since I am posting TM workout ideas on my TM Running page I was more inclined to stick to my plan. You see, I don't only want to post the workout idea, I want to link it to a day's post when I actually did the workout idea. I'm not one to ask/suggest to someone to do something if  am not willing to do it myself. So in a nutshell, I split my run into 10 minute segments. That helps alleviate the boredom that running on a treadmill can induce. You just make it to the next 10 minutes, then the next, then the next, and so on. I started out at a pace 0.2 slower than my typical treadmill pace. At 10 minutes I up'd my pace by 0.2. At 10 minutes I up'd my pace again by 0.2. I held this pace for 20 minutes before decreasing my pace by 0.2. With 10 minutes left I decreased again by 0.2. So essentially, my overall pace was my target pace but I did run some a wee bit slower and some a wee bit faster. I ended up running 6.26 miles with an average pace of 9'36".

Thursday I felt energized from a good run on Wednesday so put on the same shoes as perhaps it was the pink laces that made me feel so happy. On this run my goal was to run closer to my marathon goal pace. I am truly concerned about being able to sustain a faster pace than my current long run paces. Sorry Smart Coach, I just don't have confidence in you right now. Read more about that HERE. Therefore, I am increasing my pace on more of my shorter runs throughout the week just to get my legs turning and moving. I am also battling a Nike+ sensor that is sporadic and I think it is time for a new one. They tend to get extremely unreliable when they are getting old and tired. I ended up running 5.5 miles with an average pace of 9'05".

Today I realized I am still staying up too late and trying to wake up too early. I ended up getting to the gym late and hope/dream/plan on returning to run more later today. I started my day with 2.0 miles with an average pace of 8'51". I wore different running shoes as I truly do try to cycle through them daily to give the shoes a chance to "recover". And every one of these runs were followed by a plank of at least one minute.

think this will keep garden safe?
I am looking forward to the weekend, returning to Kids' Club days with darling daughter, and potentially sleep. And who can forget the Olympic men's marathon? I need to find the airtime and tape it as Sunday I need to tackle a long run and probably solo since our live-in babysitter, dear mom, is now at her peaceful, quiet home.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the loving and supportive comments on my recent posts. Really, thank you so much!!!
Daily Affirmation: I am passionate about what I do.

8.09.2012

My top 4 races in Hawai'i!

Picking which race you want to run can be hard. First, you need to decide how long of a race you want to do. Second, you need to pick where. And third, you need to pick when. Sometimes the where and when are so entwined that the two are one decision in their own.

There are a TON of races out there I would love to run. Can anyone say Disney? Yep, I would love to do it as a family vacation. Running and Disney for a little one? What could be more fun?! But often logistics comes in and plays a huge role in the race decision. Add in extra runners in the family and you totally understand where I am coming from on the budget side of running.

But for those of you who are dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation and would love some running, here are some races I love to run and will repeat, if I haven't already. Now I may have a couple of "local" readers and yes, these are great races for you too!

Run for the Whales Half Marathon - Maui
I didn't put the races in any particular order but this one would be the least expensive (historically under $30) of the four I am reviewing. You can learn more about it HERE and don't shy away from the name change to Run and Walk for the Whales. It is still a good run!

You get to choose between running a 5K or the 1/2 marathon and there is a kids 2K as well. It is hosted by a local non-profit, Pacific Whale Foundation, and the funds go to a great cause - protecting the marine environment through science and advocacy.

The course is beautiful and hilly and fortunately last year the half marathon was modified to not include the double loop. However, you did get to run off towards some reserves and it got HOT! But as long as you are prepared, you will do fine. There are age group awards and the top three finishers get medals. There are no finisher medals but they do have some pretty cool runner shirts!

I ran the 5K in 2010 and the half marathon in 2011 and 2012. Race day is the first Saturday of February and is part of Pacific Whale Foundation's annual Whale Festival. And this race is definitely on my schedule for 2013 and potentially with dear hubby!

Wahine Half Marathon - O'ahu
I am in love with this race and it is part of the Run Like a Diva race series. They have a 5K Girls' Race and a 1/2 Marathon women only race. I have seen a couple of men run the 1/2 marathon but they are not allowed to place officially. The race is well organized and I love the all-female aspect to the run....even though I never thought I would.

The run takes you through Honolulu starting and ending at Ala Moana Park and is close to an area of town I used to live. I must say, there are some extremely scenic points that even took my breath away, which says a lot.

There are some elevation changes and be prepared for heat and humidity and stay hydrated. The city of Honolulu is definitely hotter than the runs I am accustomed to on Maui. However, for some of you braving the 100's in your runs, you are probably rolling over laughing at what this Maui Mommy is considering hot.

I ran the inaugural race in 2011 and returned in 2012 to tackle it again. I made a huge improvement in performance and am ecstatic. I would love, love, love to return to run again in 2013 but airfare and turning the event into a family vacation may take it out of my financial reach. But I will be returning again one year!

If you are on O'ahu sometime around April be sure to check this race out. Sorry, at the time I am writing this the 2013 date has not been announced but it has been in early April the past two years.

Once again, I am in awe on how well this race is organized and managed. My personal favorite is all the volunteers and tape on the route marking obstacles and pointing you in the right direction. Oh yeah, don't forget the amazing finisher medals along with a boa at mile 12 and sparkling cider at the end! It also includes awards for age groups.

Kaua'i Half or Full Marathon - Kaua'i
If you are looking for a lush vacation spot and a half marathon or marathon why not head over to Kaua'i, The Garden Island, in September?

The course is beautiful and hilly and I don't know from experience yet but I hear the marathon is hillier than the half marathon. There is wonderful community support for this race and I still get warm, fuzzy thoughts when I think of all the supporters along the way providing encouragement.

I ran the half marathon in 2011 just two weeks before my first marathon. It was a very spiritual run for me and I completely connected to my love of running. I look forward to returning sometime soon, perhaps in 2013 or 2014, to run the marathon and bring my family along.

The cost of registration is higher but if you plan ahead you get a good deal. And they have kama'aina rates for those of you, like me, that live in Hawai'i. But I can't complain about the cost since the race was well organized and I enjoyed the time being able to chat with some really cool people at the expo. The goodie bag was awesome and I received a dry-tech race shirt.

You will get an awesome finisher's medal and if you are speedy, this may be your lucky place and you could win some $$$ with the speed challenges they have. In addition, there are age group awards and the after party is lovely! It truly is one I enjoyed hanging out at but perhaps I was more inclined because I went solo in 2011.

You may also have the opportunity to meet some inspiring people in the running community, like Dean Karnazes.

Maui Half or Full Marathon - Maui
The Maui Marathon is another September race, typically around the 3rd Sunday, and you can choose from the Front Street Mile, a 5K, the half marathon, or the marathon. You can also do a Warrior's Challenge of races.

I ran the half marathon in 2010 and the marathon in 2011. I look forward to returning in September to run the marathon again and aim to set a new PR.

Just like the Kaua'i Marathon, registration fees are a bit higher but if you plan early and register early, your pocketbook is happier! There is the opportunity to add on a lot to your experience with Carb Loading parties, etc. but I have never ventured into this. In all reality, I just enjoyed browsing the expo and spending time with my family before and post race. In addition, I have never truly hung out post race to experience their after party.

This race is entering its 42nd year and knows what it is doing. The half marathon is a pretty flat out-and-back and the marathon starts hilly and ends flatter. It can be a hot race especially towards the end when you are running down Front Street. But as long as you are prepared and stay hydrated, you should do fine.

This race is one I plan to return to in future years and the only reason I may skip it is if I am going to run somewhere else....such as that Kaua'i Marathon.

Disclaimer: Please note, I am not a certified trainer or trained medical professional. These race reviews represent my own opinion and any information I give on cost or course is subject to change at the race director's discretion. Please make sure you are well trained and ready to run a race before entering. Running can be dangerous and I always strongly advise annual physicals and complete honesty with your physician in how you are training in terms of distance and intensity. 

8.07.2012

The day I didn't want to run....

This post has been bouncing around in my head since Sunday. At first I thought sit down and post it then so it would be real and not softened by time. In hindsight, I am glad I waited because in all reality my end result isn't the desire for sympathy but to share my story, my hurdles, my successes.

I woke up on Sunday and the goal was to run 20 miles with dear hubby. I was torn since I really wanted to watch the women's Olympic marathon, which was airing at midnight here. But staying up and watching that and then running 20 miles wasn't a good idea. I sent the DVR to record the Olympics and went to bed at a somewhat decent time. Thing is, I wasn't feeling too good. Okay, I don't often feel marvelous at 5:00 am but I wasn't feeling anywhere near how I usually do. My head ached. I ate breakfast. I got nauseous. I didn't want to move an inch. I crawled back into bed and cuddled up with darling daughter and was in Heaven.

Moments later dear hubby nudged me and asked if we were running. I said I didn't feel good and that was about the extent of that conversation. Another moment went by and darling daughter woke up and looked into my eyes. I told her mommy is supposed to be running right now. She said that I should be then but then retracted with a stay with me. I got her up, fixed her breakfast, and got annoyed that dear hubby had left for "our" run without me. Really? No double check that I didn't want to go, no get up wifey and get your butt in gear, no let's just see how far you can go? I was annoyed and that was what I needed to get my butt in gear. With much drama in the house, I got dressed and was out the door running to meet up with dear hubby. Thank goodness mom picked up on my frustration and came out of the bedroom to be with darling daughter.

I wasn't 100% sure dear hubby would stick to our course since he was running solo and had to make a choice to run up and then back down to him or down and hope to catch him at the intersection. I ran up and back down. I pushed my pace and prayed to God that I caught up with him since I didn't have much water on me. And no sunscreen. And very little Body Glide. And no sunglasses. Oh my!

I did find him and got annoyed I didn't receive a bigger welcoming. I don't know what I was expecting but perhaps a high five, great job, lovely to see you dear. We started running our normal course now and my head was pounding. I didn't feel good and at one moment felt a bit dizzy....I think. I am still not sure if I was dizzy or just thinking too much about how I was feeling and perceived fake dizziness....if that makes any sense.

Since I did a weird start from home I wasn't sure of the distance and where I should take my first GU. I thought that would make me feel better. Thing is, I discovered my Nike+ sensor stopped tracking distance, but was still keeping time time, when I checked it just around 40 minutes of running. I had an idea of the distance but like back-up. I ran some more and rechecked. Nope, it still thinks I haven't gained any distance but ironically I was maintaining the same pace. I told dear hubby about my mishap and his nonchalant "no worries" was my last straw of bugginess. I turned around and said forget it.

Now don't think I gave up just due to technology. That I could have managed. I could have even stopped and tried to restart it so it could track the remaining of the run. But it was everything coming together - the headache, the potential dizziness, the realization that I had run at least 5 miles - a point where I normally take a GU and haven't even really took a sip of water, no sunscreen, no sunglasses, little Body Glide. It was like the sensor was the final sign that I was being crazy. I didn't feel good when I woke up. Perhaps I needed to just get back home.

I ran home and didn't allow myself to call mom to come a get me. I could make it home and it would be good to run out a bit more of annoyance that dear hubby didn't ask me if I would be able to make it home okay. Darnit....sometimes it is annoying that he obviously has confidence in me and doesn't feel he needs to baby me or watch over me. Argh! But right then I felt weak and wanted to be babied....or maybe I didn't. Who knows how I would have felt if he questioned my ability to get home.

By the time I got home I had completed about 8 miles of running and I wanted to cry. Cry because I didn't do 20 miles. Cry because I felt so discouraged. Cry because dear hubby was running without me. Cry because I felt weak.

However as soon as I walked in the house mom and darling daughter began to lift my spirits and we alternated between watching the women's marathon and cartoons. I had a lazy day and at the end of the day, I put out a blanket and colored with darling daughter while watching more Olympics. I was having fun and looked to her and said Mommy doesn't feel strong today. She replied that I was. I told her I would find my strong tomorrow. She said I would indeed find my strong and I smiled. If only anyone else in the room knew why I was smiling so big and how happy my heart felt. I was coloring by my four-year old daughter and truly felt that we should have been in a Saucony commercial in that moment.

Did I find my strong Monday? I am not sure. I did a mile run squeezed in between a lot of other things that had to be done but perhaps finding time for that was my strong.

Did I find my strong today? I would love to say yes I did with a long run but I ran two miles with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I am working through a lot of emotions right now with mom flying out today. She has been a huge help and I am going to miss it and her. There may even be a touch of PMS, which I suspect with the intense sugar cravings and sadness. But I know I will be fine, I will run again tomorrow, I am strong and I still miss my Dad so very much.

Sunday I thought I would never run again. Sunday I thought I would never run with dear hubby again. Sunday I lost faith.

Today I know I will run again tomorrow. Today I know I will run again with dear hubby and that we will get better at it. Today I have faith in me. Today I am strong even in the moments I feel weak.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for tears that wash away the doubts.
Daily Affirmation: I am grateful for each experience in my life.

P.S. I am counting this as my Sweat Your Thorns off virtual 5K because darnit....it was a thorny run! But since my Nike+ sensor went wacky I can't really report my exact splits for the 5K but we can guesstimate around 28 minutes.....but let's just say....I ran it and will need to do better next year! The Sweat Your Thorns off virtual 5K was hosted by The Boring Runner.

8.04.2012

July 2012 Training Report

Let me just say, I started my analysis by entering all my runs into Running Ahead. I knew I was ahead of my mileage this year in comparison from last July just from my daily entries into Daily Mile but was surprised to see this.

2012

2011

Now that made me have to stop and go back and review what my training report said in July 2011 as I was wondering why I only ran 18 times. The answer....that really nasty stomach virus thing I got. Oh yeah! I remember that! That really sucked big time!!! I did have it in the back of my mind that I got really sick last training cycle. And I am really stoked to see the diet cokes I was trying to quit so hard way back then....well, I don't drink them anymore! I finally quit! Read about it HERE.

Now on to fun training talk!

Here is how I did with my July goals:
  • To continue to build mileage and have a 50-mile week by the end of the month - I am building mileage but opted to do it more slowly. I haven't made it to a 50-mile week yet.
  • Run with dear hubby at least twice this month - We ran together three times! We did an 18-mile long run, 20-mile long run, and 16.14 mile long run. I am happy with our performance!
  • To continue to train regularly with my mom coming into town - Done!
  • To incorporate some ab workouts into my daily routine - I started doing core training with the #plankaday challenge. It works for me. 
  • Stretch daily especially my hip and glute muscles - Oopsies! Was I supposed to be doing that every day?
  • Keep tabs on my daily eating since I know my cravings are just going to get crazier as I up my running - I am doing a pretty darn good job at resisting all my mom's temptations but have eaten a bit more sugar than I would have without her here. No worries though. I am still proud of myself!

August goals:
my #plankaday reports
  • To train hard and to be committed. I am not sure if I will make that 50-mile week but I will work to increase mileage more throughout the end of the month. Once September hits, taper mode hits.
  • Run with dear hubby at least twice. I know that sounds silly after we did 3 runs together last month but mom will be back in Texas so we will need an alternative babysitter.
  • Continue to #plankaday and do at least a minute. I am not too focused on increasing time right now, just doing a minute and starting the routine.
  • Give my body love through stretching, eating well, and sleeping.

8.03.2012

First I am a Mom

After my first half marathon
Life is crazy hectic and I mean being pulled in 1,000 directions crazy hectic. In some regards I like being busy and a good portion of the hectic is my own doing. I am choosing to run daily. I am choosing to blog almost daily. Others things aren't as much in my control. I must be a full-time employee.

Each day is only 24 hours. To a preschooler 24 seems like a huge number but when I look at all I need to do in a day, it seems so little especially with my recent desire to aim to really get 8 hours of sleep (and no, I really am not succeeding with this yet). Wow, now I am down to 16 hours in a day. Add 8 hours of work and now I am left with a measly 8 hours to get to and from work, to run, to blog, to shower, to do chores, to cook, to plan and make lunches, to be with family and friends, to chat on the phone with family, and to try to squeeze in quality time with dear hubby.

Before a local 5K
But what keeps me centered is that I stick to my core beliefs. I am a Mom first. My darling daughter is my priority in life and I honestly love being with her and doing things for her. I truly feel blessed to have her in my life and feel motherhood as kept me centered on what is important in life. Family. 

Some may question how I can choose to run so much, and everyday, if she is my priority. Simply stated....running gives me the me time, the stress relief, the connection I need to my spirituality to be a better me, a calmer me, a more loving and compassionate mom. I need to be healthy and strong in order to do the most important job - to be a loving, caring, nurturing mom.

Support during a training run
Yesterday I took a day off of work to spend a little extra time with my mom and darling daughter. My mom leaves in a few days and who knows when we will see each other next. Plus, I just wanted to spend some more summer break time with darling daughter. I could have slept in until she woke up but instead I opted to get up early, as usual, and go to the gym for my daily run. I let my mom know I would be back later in the morning and didn't let guilt prevent me from taking this time for me. My goal was to run 60 minutes but once I hit that mark I was too close to 7 miles to stop. Then I just had to round out 65 minutes and do a full 5-minute cool down. The end result was 7.39 miles with an average pace of 8'47". I followed it up with a 1:10 plank, some stretching, and headed home where darling daughter eagerly jumped up and ran to give me hugs and kisses....even though I was stinky and sweaty. It was awesome! And she didn't want to stop hugging me to let me shower. What a beautiful way to start the day!

After a local 10K
Afterwards we ended running around town for necessary and fun errands and adventures. At our last stop darling daughter was at her last straw and it was showing that this trip was a bit too much for her. But since I had my run in me I remained calm. And when she was getting crazy I tried to redirect with silly games and bloopers. It helped some but eventually she needed the consequence of being put in the cart. She protested. I remained calm. I got her in the car and put on a crown and her crankiness quickly went away. We continued with our fun adventures at home for the remainder of the day. I know this story ended well since I did run, was at peace with myself, and was balanced. If I wasn't, the outcome could have been so much different. Moms truly do set the tone for what unveils even when we don't realize it.

So what this all boils down to is this....I blog to share my story, to find inspiration, and perhaps inspire others. I have felt that slight negative pull others have blogged about. To do another product review, to do another giveaway, to enter another giveaway, to do whatever it may be at the moment. I am mainly writing about this since I want to say to each one of you that I don't follow your blog because you do x, y, or z but because I love reading your stories that come from your heart and to let my readers know that will continue to be my goal. And although I am to blog daily, if I don't have a good story to share, or the time to share the good story, it will just need to wait. And I truly expect you to all do the same.

My first marathon before finish line
I view the virtual running/blogging community as a group of friends. We get together and chat when we can and sometimes we play catch-up when we have been out of touch. That is what makes blogging special to me. And if you are a new blogger, be true to you and have fun! Life is too short to feel pressured to do x, y, or z when you are already being the best you that you are!

P.S. And I guess today I just needed to give myself and pep talk reminding me that being me is just fine. Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Who's watching the running today on the Olympics? I am! But will need to tape it as I made plans to go to a friend's house for a big get together with family and friends.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the loving support from my darling daughter.
Daily Affirmation: I am a loving person.